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Eddie Redmayne Shares His Regrets About Taking On The Danish Girl Role

Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl
(Image credit: Focus Pictures)

The Danish Girl was one of 2015’s most acclaimed films, but some critics and online commentators called out lead Eddie Redmayne for playing transgender artist Lili Elbe. Even though the role proved to be controversial, Redmayne scored multiple accolades, including a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Years after receiving backlash for taking on the role, the Fantastic Beasts star revealed his regrets related to The Danish Girl.

Taking on the life of Lili Elbe proved to be a double-edged sword for the Oscar winner. Eddie Redmayne found himself being praised and criticized for playing the transgender artist. Looking back at the role now, Redmayne is reflective about the controversy surrounding it. The Trial of the Chicago 7 star shared with The Times what he regrets about playing the artist, saying:

No, I wouldn’t take it on now. I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake. The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don’t have a chair at the table. There must be a leveling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates.

Years after the controversy, Eddie Redmayne has evolved his thought process about The Danish Girl. As the Oscar winner pointed out, not enough transgender actors and actresses get the opportunity to get great roles in blockbusters and smaller films. Many stars like Mj Rodriguez and Laverne Cox have been vocal about their difficulties in Hollywood.

But it’s not just Eddie Redmayne’s fault for the casting. Some of the responsibility must fall on movie studios for not taking a chance on someone who's lived the experience. So becoming Lili Elbe might’ve kept a transgender actor or actress from receiving a much-needed career boost. It seemed now The Good Nurse star looks back with some hindsight and takes some responsibility.

Eddie Redmayne’s Danish Girl regrets showcased the growth he has experienced since accepting the role. Redmayne has become an ally for transgender rights and representation. When Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling made some offensive comments about transgender women, the Hollywood star was one of the most vocal defenders. He had joined a chorus of past and current Wizarding World stars in speaking out against Rowling.

Having become an ally, Eddie Redmayne showed anyone can evolve even after a major faux pas. Hopefully Redmayne will continue to speak up and out for transgender representation in Hollywood. As an A-lister, maybe Redmayne’s words will help push for better representation in film. As Hollywood strives for more inclusion, audiences are looking forward to seeing Redmayne as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which arrives in theaters on April 15, 2022. If you want to still witness his impressive performance, you can stream The Danish Girl on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).